There are aliens and Sasquatches among us

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Cooking in the West

There are aliens and perhaps Sasquatches among us! I know this might be hard to believe coming from such a reliable source as myself, but I have conducted my own independent research on this topic and concluded without a doubt that we are not alone in this universe!

My observational study of this phenomenon began many years ago. When I first moved to college, I began to notice that I would put 6 pairs of socks in the wash cycle, and only 5 1/2 pairs would come out of the dryer. In statistics class, I learned that the number of socks that came out (variable y) was dependent upon the independent variable (the dryer). I analyzed the data and formed an alternative hypothesis: Either a one-legged girl was randomly pillaging the dorm dryers or there was a lot of truth to those UFO/alien sightings.

When I began to raise my children, many mysterious events would happen in the house that can only be attributed to extraterrestrial activity. One time an alien stuck a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the VCR. It had to be an alien, because to this day almost 25 years later, neither child has confessed to the deed. A couple astrological symbol-shaped holes mysteriously appeared in the walls of our home. Again, since no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility, I have had to conclude that they are the result of aliens trying to send us some message--probably that we needed to attend parenting classes.

Recently, I have felt alien presences very strongly. I think there must be a shortage of sunglasses in outer space, because every time I get a new pair of sunglasses, they vaporize. In addition, the phone chargers disappear from my car constantly. I think ET and all of his friends must be trying to phone home by utilizing my car chargers!

The one piece of irrefutable evidence I can cite in my study is the case of the missing salad bowl at Lander’s Fork in the Scapegoat Wilderness. One afternoon when I was cooking for the annual Continental Divide fishing trip for the K Lazy 3, I had put a large salad bowl full of chocolate pudding in the creek to set up for dessert that night. When I went to get the pudding from the creek, the tinfoil that had covered the bowl was lying on the bank, but the bowl of chocolate pudding was nowhere to be seen. The whole camp searched up and down the creek, but the bowl and its contents had vanished. Keep in mind that this is a pretty remote area, and we rarely see other humans on this trip.

Now, everyone who has watched the movie Signs knows that tinfoil wards off aliens and prevents them from reading a human’s mind, but perhaps this is not the case with generic brands of tinfoil. Next summer, I will wrap the pudding in Reynold’s Wrap and sleep beside the creek with my camera, because I have begun to suspect that the Lander’s Fork incident might not have been aliens but rather a Sasquatch!

You see, the next year when we rode into the Lander’s Fork camp, the exact same salad bowl that we had searched for was sitting in plain sight right by the fire pit. It was almost as if someone or some thing was expecting us and was strongly hinting that we should make chocolate pudding for them. Needless to say, I did not make pudding at that camp, and I was eager to ride out of that eerie camp two days later.

I do think there is at least one Sasquatch in the Scapegoat Wilderness, and there have been a lot of reported sightings in that area according to the internet and the wilderness rangers. Many times, I have been riding down the trail in the back, where the cook always rides, when suddenly the mules in front of me will blow up and scatter packs all over the place for no apparent reason. My theory is that phenomenon has to be blamed on a crafty Sasquatch with a wicked sense of humor who hides along the trail and spooks the mules perhaps with the hope that in the wreck, we will lose track of some chocolate pudding or other delectable treats. In fact, the title of my next cookbook is going to be The Cook Rides in the Back and Watches for Sasquatch.

The good thing about Sasquatches is that they are allegedly quite shy-- unlike aliens who have reportedly abducted people. I actually hope I do experience an alien abduction, so I can ask them to return my socks, sunglasses, and car chargers, fix the holes they made in the walls, and explain that sandwich in the VCR!

I won’t have any recipes from aliens until after my abduction, but since it is rhubarb season, I want to share a couple favorite rhubarb recipes and one for raw apple cake. Thanks to my featured cooks, Karen Schmierer of Savage, Montana, and Sandy Smith of Big Timber, Montana, for sharing these recipes long ago!

Karen’s Rhubarb Cream Cake

1 box yellow or white cake mix

3 C. rhubarb

1 C. sugar

1 pint whipping cream

Mix cake according to directions. Put in 9x13 cake pan. Cut rhubarb into small pieces. Spread over cake mix. Sprinkle sugar over rhubarb and then pour the whipping cream over sugar. Do not mix or stir! Bake 45 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees until light brown and cracks form on the top. (Cake rises to top and a custard forms at the bottom). This freezes well.

Fresh Apple Cake

4 C. chopped apples

2 C. sugar

2 eggs

1/4 t. salt

2 t. soda

2 C. flour

1/2 C. oil

1 t. vanilla

1/4 t. each nutmeg and cloves

2 t. cinnamon

Place apples, sugar, and spices in bowl. Add oil and eggs. Add flour, salt, and soda. Stir in vanilla. Bake in 9 X 13 pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Sandy’s Rhubarb Upside Down

Cake

3 1/2 C. chopped rhubarb

1/2 C. sugar

3 oz. pkg. strawberry Jell-o

3 C. miniature marshmallows

1 pkg. white or yellow cake mix

Lightly grease a 9 X 13 pan (glass works best because of the acid in the rhubarb). Spread rhubarb evenly in the bottom of the pan. Mix the Jell-o and sugar and sprinkle over the rhubarb. Spread marshmallows over top. Mix the cake mix according to the package directions and pour over the marshmallow layer. Bake according to the cake mix directions. (This cake is even better served warm with ice cream or whipped cream!)

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